This is turning into an atrocious Cricket World Cup for Canada.
Canada wants to at the very least show the world that the nation is improving off its previous two appearances and that it is making progress with its full-time cricketers and developing under-19 program. All it is showing is that its not even close. So far it is the laughingstock of this competition.
The sad part about Canadaís 175-run loss to Zimbabwe before a sparse gathering in Nagpur, India, on Monday is that they started very well. Its seamers, Khurram Chohan and Harvir Baidwan took two quick wickets, including the one of Brendan Taylor on the gameís first ball and kept the first few overs manageable. But then the spinners showed up and Zimbabweís Tatenda Taibu and Craig Ervine dined on them as if they were at an $8.99 all-you-can-eat buffet. Singles, doubles, boundaries, and an overall partnership of 175 pulled the African side ahead. And while Canada did well to take five wickets in a 10-over span in the latter half of the innings, and Balaji Rao did a nice job taking four wickets himself, the truth is it canít stop anyone.
In 100 overs, Canada has yet to register a maiden over in this World Cup. So even with Zimbabwe being slow at times and going for sweeps when full shots would have served them better, it still went for tea and samosas at the break 298 for 9.
Surely Canada could do better with its batting than starting seven for two like Zimbabwe did, right? Nope. It started seven for three. John Davison out for a duck. Nitish Kumar done for one. And captain Ashish Bagai also out with a zero beside his name.
Canada simply has to address this problem with its openers. Davison, 40, did great things for Canada at the 2003 World Cup but his role here has to be reduced. Itís not working anymore. And as great a future as he has ahead of him, Kumar, who at 16 is the youngest World Cup player ever, cannot possibly be asked to carry that load.
Who should move up? Canada has a showstopper in Rizwan Cheema. So what is he doing at No. 6? In a role where he can set the pace rather than go into rescue mode, he can ignite the team. He was asked for too much yesterday and his quick dismissal after 14 off nine balls showed that. Tyson Gordon also looks like a useful batsman who batted higher in the order when playing for Jamaica previously.
Generally though, Zimbabweís spinners suffocated Canada, especially veteran Ray Price, who took three wickets and only surrendered 16 runs in eight overs. Canadaís two top batsmen yesterday, Ruvindu Gunasekera (24) and Zubin Surkari (26) faced a combined 146 balls. The total of 123 all out was fitting for a team that must find its batting way if it is to be any more than roadkill for its remaining opponents.
Also Monday, Chris Gayle made 80 and Kemar Roach took six wickets to give the West Indies a comfortable 215-run win over the Netherlands in Delhi, India.
Kieron Pollard added an innings of 60. Devon Smith made 53 and Ramnaresh Sarwan added 49 for the islanders who finished 330 for eight. Tom Cooper went for 55 not out in the third spot for the Dutch but had a front row seat as his partners fell one by one until the match ended in the 32nd over.